If so, how can you maximise your entitlements?

At any given time about 65% of Australian retirees are receiving either a full or part age pension. But age pension entitlements tend to vary depending upon your age and lifestage.

Just under 450,000 Australians enter retirement every year. About four in 10 of these will start off as self-funded. But depending upon the rate at which they draw down their superannuation and other savings, about half of those who start out self-funded, will sooner or later qualify for at least a small pension entitlement.

Those who start retirement with a large lump sum withdrawal from their super will obviously be more likely to qualify earlier. Those who carefully manage their withdrawals using an Account Based Pension may never exhaust their savings.

Either way, the support team at Retirement Essentials has learned that most of our members find even the idea of slogging through the 26-page Centrelink application presents a daunting prospect.

Mistakes can be costly

It seems that many are concerned that they might make a mistake for which they could be penalised later on. As unlikely as this is to happen, many feel stressed by tackling their Age Pension application without professional support.

It’s also important to understand that those whose applications are rejected today may find they will qualify at a later stage. Nothing is set in concrete.

This is because the Australian Age Pension is conditional upon both an income and an assets test. Whichever of the two measures leads to the lower or no entitlement, will dictate your final payment or rejection.

So if, today, your assets are above the current thresholds you will not qualify. But many people overestimate the value of their assets. And others will be currently renovating or spending money on maintenance, and paying for these home improvements, whilst adding value to your home, can also reduce your assets and change your eligibility.

This is why it is so important to never say never when you consider your possible Age Pension eligibility.

Similarly, you will need to keep totally up to date to ensure that your entitlement is always maximised. Our personal situations can change at the drop of a hat. So can those of our partners, our adult children, our grandchildren. There are many ways these fluctuations can translate into increased payments. One of our members was surprised to learn she would receive an extra support payment for taking care of her two grandchildren.  This carers payment was in addition to her age pension entitlements.

Applying for the age pension

Here are some of the key steps to getting your age pension application submitted

  • Assess your eligibility on our free eligibility calculator
  • If eligible get your paperwork together (we can let you know what you need) and start your online application
  • Contact us for support or a consultation if you get stuck.  Phone us on 1300 527 727 if you would like some support
  • Appoint us as your nominee to liaise with Centrelink on your behalf

Even if you are self-funded today, you may wish to bookmark this article or to print it out for reference for you or a friend. Whether you qualify for an Age Pension today or not, it’s great to have a handy reminder of how the system works.

Some other ways we can help you are: